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February 7, 2018

81: Allen Adamson and the challenge of a world that is spinning faster

In this week’s “Marketing Today,” Alan talks to Allen Adamson, co-founder and managing partner of the marketing company, Metaforce. Adamson is also the author of four books, the latest of which is “Shift Ahead: How the Best Companies Stay Relevant in a Fast-Changing World.”

During his conversation with Alan, Adamson touches on a wide variety of topics. In addition to talking about the issue facing companies today that serves as the title of his book, he addresses the challenge of people’s resistance to change — though, intellectually, they know they should embrace it — and how it affects the companies they work for and lead. “The notion is familiar is comfortable,” says Adamson. “Yesterday is more comfortable than tomorrow. You have to go in with the mindset that human nature is resistant to change.”

He later weighs in on how a CMO can be an effective change agent for their company, something he refers to as “See and Seize.” In doing so, Adamson talks about the approach a successful CMO should employ: “The most successful ones need to be champions of what’s happening in the marketplace and help the organization evolve. And the most successful ones move fast.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Adamson describes the arc of his career, from agency life to working on the client side and in the world of branding. ([1:47])
  • Adamson talks about his latest book and the nature of his collaboration with co-author, Joel Steckel. ([4:42])
  • Adamson lists the convergence of factors contributing to the accelerating pace of change facing companies today. ([6:59])
  • Cruise Control and The Gravitational Pull of Marty Crane’s Chair. ([8:59])
  • What happens when companies play too much tennis and not enough golf. ([11:50])
  • Adamson relates his version of the Kodak moment; it’s not a pretty picture. ([15:34])
  • Adamson on his latest book: “It’s a business book for business leaders.” ([22:19])
  • “What gets me up in the morning is a problem that isn’t easy.” ([26:05])

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